Blanka Hubena, lecturer on the MA Art Psychotherapy, is a practising art psychotherapist and clinical supervisor.
What is your professional background?
Originally a practicing artist working in the divided communities of Belfast, Northern Ireland, it became clear that I needed some further specialist training to meet the complex needs of those I worked and engaged with in community arts studio groups and arts workshops. The master's art therapy training offered by Queen's University, Belfast enabled me to respond therapeutically to emotional and therapeutic needs of those affected by trauma and PTSD whilst also utilising the existing creative and artistic skills thus combining two fields of expertise. This was a revelatory experience and profoundly impactful on my understanding of what it takes to work in mental health services with people from diverse backgrounds and with complex mental health and emotional needs.
What do you bring to the art psychotherapy course?
It is the range of professional experiences, regional knowledge of the arts therapies and counselling professions, being a safeguarding trainer, having a range of professional clinical experiences and sound knowledge of current ethical and professional art psychotherapy practice and clinical supervision. I am also one of the few people out there in our professional field interested in the field of research methodologies (in social sciences) and their usefulness and application in the counselling, psychotherapy and arts therapies professions.
What are the biggest strengths of the MA Art Psychotherapy course?
There are many but to name a few: the course places a big importance on learning about human development and the beginnings of relational bonds during the training, ensuring that our students have a sound understanding of the attachment theory and solid psychodynamic grounding in their future practice.
We also emphasise the need and development of diverse range of creative and arts based skills and use live clinical art psychotherapy studios and experiential rooms for teaching and learning on the course. This unique feature enables the client voice and service user experience to be embedded in the course’s structure and the curriculum delivery.
Another unique feature is the good quality of clinical practice placements. Our placement partners value the work of our trainees highly and many of our students successfully gain employment in their last clinical placement setting. The employment rate of our graduates is very high and speaks volumes of the calibre of art psychotherapy practitioners the course produces.
Why is Art Psychotherapy a good profession?
The professional role of an art psychotherapist is diverse. Those who train in the field may find work in the NHS (primary, secondary and acute mental health teams, including specialist services), education, charity and third sector organisations such as trauma treatment services, sexual assault referrals centres, arts in health and wellbeing settings, community arts organisations, drug and alcohol recovery settings or palliative care services. Their career development may lead to roles in professional and clinical supervision, research, education and training and private practice.
Put simply, it is a very versatile profession, which continues to grow and develop with the changing needs of the diverse UK populations, across the lifespan, from many ethnic groups, communities and cultures.